REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND MENSTRUAL HYGIENE
Reproductive health is also a human right. All women have a health right to better menstrual hygiene management (MHM). Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is one of the most neglected topics both in reproductive health.
Reproductive health education is also important for adults and young people helping to raise awareness about puberty, menstruation, sexual violence, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, family planning, and maternal health. It empowers women and men to make informed decisions about their bodies, improve general health and wellbeing and overcoming inequality – it helps people to break the vicious cycles of poverty.
The poor reproductive health status is attributed to the following contributing factors;-
Lack of Education
According to UNICEF, 1 in 10 school-aged African girls either skip school during menstruation or drop out entirely because of lack of hygiene solutions. A girl who is absent from school for 4 days each month loses 13 learning days, equivalent to 2 weeks of learning in every school term. A girl in primary school (3 years long) loses approximately 18 weeks out of 108 school weeks, while a girl in secondary school (4 years long) loses 156 learning days, equivalent to almost 24 weeks out of 144 weeks of school. This is a clear indication that our girl children are becoming school drop-outs while still in school. This absenteeism is the leading cause of poor academic performance and subsequent dropping out of school among girls.
Menstrual hygiene is clearly a neglected issue, yet it is a basic need of all women. The monthly expenditure for sanitary protection is about 2,500 UGX (just almost $0.72 US), costs prohibitive to a poor family in which the average monthly household income is about UGX 30,000 ($12 US). As the Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE) states:
. . . buying sanitary protection means a monthly spending equivalent of four radio batteries or enough paraffin to last a family one month. Where men most often control the household budget, how can girls succeed in getting sanitary materials on to the priority list? Where sanitary protection for one girl may cost around a tenth of a monthly family monthly income, how can a household afford this where there are 2 or 3 girls?